Sexualization of Women & Girls

It’s very obvious that we as Americans live in a society that openly objectifies woman and values them very much based on what they look like and how they present themselves. From a very young age, girls are taught to be like the girls they see on TV — bearing it all for the world to see, as if the only way you can be something is if you are attractive in the eyes of a man. It’s no secret that advertisements try to make woman feel as if there is only one way to be beautiful. This needs to be put to a stop but first lets’ explain ways in which women are sexualized.

If you ever notice when little girls first go to the beach, they will usually be wearing a mini version of what adult women wear to the beach (ex: two-piece bikinis). They are taught they must always behave in a ladylike manner because a woman of any other type of class is considered “dirty” and “unwanted”. It is also known that women are much more encouraged than men to show off skin and appear to be sexually ready in their facial expressions. If these are the examples little girls have to look forward to when they get older, how can they possibly grow up to have independent minds and make healthy decisions about life and their own bodies? This is not to mention self-esteem which can affect how girl makes decisions – for example, being talked into having sex because her boyfriend says he loves her.

Dolls are a big indication of the sexualization of women. Dolls are often dressed in a very skimpy manner. Bratz dolls have articles of clothing that include stockings, miniskirts and boas. These are dolls that are supposed to be targeted towards 7-10 year olds. Female characters are one of the most obvious and stunning markers of objectification. There are statistics to prove this – 38 percent of the female characters in video games are scantily clad, 23 percent baring breasts or cleavage, 31 percent exposing thighs, another 31 percent exposing stomachs or midriffs, and 15 percent baring their behinds. This is totally not the case for male characters in video games (http://www.media-awareness.ca/english/issues/stereotyping/women_and_girls/women_sex.cfm).

The media is probably the most obvious indicator that women’s objectification is alive and well. It is estimated that 1 out of 4 commercials are talking about how to make yourself appear more “beautiful”. A lot of times women are looked at as just body parts that can almost be disposed of. Marketers do this to “grab the viewers eye” because as they say “sex sells”. This of course reinforces the belief that women are objects as opposed to whole thinking human beings. Another thing that the media constantly sends out is that the thinner you are equals more attractive. This leads to women’s high rate of eating disorders especially with all the magazine covers only having women that are barely even size zeros. This is very detrimental to society as a whole because women die everyday cause of this disordered eating.

The media probably won’t take account for this but they also promote violence against females. They are obsessed with making women look more young and innocent to appear more “vulnerable”. Like certain slogans saying “apply to your neck slowly while saying no.” Obviously meaning that no is never really no. These type of things get put into the brain’s subconscious as women are just teasing when they say no, they are just “playing hard to get.”

Women have always been sexualized ever since the beginning of time but now that we have evolved as a society it is time for us all to take a stand and say NO MORE. Is this the type of society you want to see your daughter grow up in? I THINK NOT. Women are just as equal as men and if women have to bare all so should men. Society needs to understand is that women are not a mysterious species, but we are human beings and deserve the respect anyone else gets.

Okay, so no more yelling out of your car, “NICE ASS” — it just isn’t a good look.

By: C.H.A.T. Peer Educator, Damaris

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